Archive for the ‘12 Steps’ Category

Opening to my path

Opening to my Path
SoulCollage(R) by Susan Heffron Hajec

It is Mother’s Day today. As I am preparing to facilitate a SoulCollage Open Studio this coming Friday on Mystical Mother, I have been gathering various reflective words and images to set the stage for image creation. I know it will be wonderful.

I came across a copy of Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”, and it really caused me to pause.  I can still see the small, square illustrated hard copy book of this poem where I placed it on a table top at a focal point in our living room. Above it hung an image of mother with a baby at her breast and the word, love, that I had framed special, for that was my central purpose in life….wife and mother.

It was in my mid-twenties going into my thirties, that consciousness raising and independent thinking were beginning to take root in my life; only one of many waves which kept occurring and I kept stepping up to. There were many layers to explore, choose, get rid of, and suffer the pain and experience the joy and freedom of doing so.

But this book, a copy of Desiderata, traveled on with me for many years. It may still be in my bookcase downstairs. I will look.  It made a deep impression on me in my early years. The impression was one of grandeur and inspiration. The impression was one of , “could this be possible?  The impression was one of a deep sounding chord or fertile seed of Truth.  I didn’t know for sure this was true, and yet there was something in it proclaiming to me that it was a good path to follow.

I pretty much did follow it in the winding labyrinthian paths of my life.  My conclusion is that Max was onto something.

Today, I read the words as a woman seventy-three years of age and quite a bit of life experience. These words contain the Truth and strivings of my daily life and sometimes in viewing the failings, along with the good, these words give cheer to my heart.

I think it is most likely true that I am no less than the trees or the stars; and that as a child of the Universe, I have a right to be here.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

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Today, as I was posting on my Peace In Our Hearts and Around The World Facebook page, two words in this step jumped out at me as if it were the first time I was seeing them.

“improve our………..conscious contact with God…

STEP ELEVEN. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out……Prayer and meditation are our principal means of conscious contact with God.” Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Having had 36 years and 13,140 “one-day-at-a-time” days (throwing in a few extras for the Leap Years that occurred over this time), it surprises me that something new pops up in the literature and practice of The Twelve Steps after all this time. But it does and it did today.

In truly countless meetings I attended from the late 1970s into the early years of 2000, I learned how it works, as Chapter 5 states which is often read at the beginning of meetings. “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has truly followed this path.” The path this refers to is the path of the 12 Steps for recovering addicts, no matter the substance of choice. Repetitive reading of this chapter did no harm and hearing it aloud among companion recovering brothers and sisters imbedded the Truth of the miracle mission of founder Bill Wilson in our own personal lives.

True…..we stood at the turning point. We knew this well. We were on the path of the 12 Steps, one day at a time, that would free us from a life impossible to live if addiction ruled our lives.

So, today, many years later, and on a continuing and increasing lifestyle of contemplative prayer and practice, the words that surprise me are: IMPROVING OUR……

Many who sat around the tables had trouble with the word GOD, having to substitute the word Higher Power, for it. Or the masculine pronoun of HE for God. I could get by all of those. They were not barriers to the step for me or the practice of it. What I thought this step promised was ACTUAL conscious contact with God.

My end wish is that I do have that ACTUAL contact, but I will settle for sobriety AND improved conscious contact with God. I have that all the time.  And conscious seems to be the operative word here.

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